The Formula of life

We all want a successful life, and most of our lives will go figuring out the formula for ourselves. In this process we will try what others are using, what they’re suggesting, what we may want to work for ourselves, until one day, we will have the epiphany and strike that perfect balance and know it, once and for all.

I have been in the phase of exploration since what feel like forever. And I have found something that brings me calm now. There was always a clash between the world that I live in, ( we all live in) and the spiritual side of things. The real life is the one after death, and while we are here for a split second, our lives on earth seem to be the most important to us. Anyway, sometimes we don’t know what’s bothering us, and what is causing us to be in a state of unrest, until we somehow come across a solution or experience that makes it all clear.

What I have also observed is that the more we dwell on figuring this out, the sooner we are able to formulate our way of life which will bring us eternal satisfaction. So if you start this process in your teenage, you may figure out life by early twenties, and I know people who have done that. At times I feel it’s a whole scam of science that makes teenagers this helpless, hormone driven, and irresponsible breed. The world should be patient with them, no doubt, because its a time of major change, but it’s also a great time to explore oneself the right way. At 29, I feel stupid to have lost such a long period of my life and only now realize about myself, things I could’ve easily figured out earlier. You can only feel bad, at a point like such.

As a parent, I am not going to give the gift of pondering, to my children. Mindful pondering, and exploration of ones personality, skills, potential. And not just academic, but spiritual.  A soul that is pure, will find it’s meaning faster than one contaminated by sins, worldly desires, and rubbish. In such situations experience may not hold a positive place.

I guess the point of this post was; that there IS a formula and the sooner we figure it out, the more calm and focused we will be. And no matter how shitty we may be feeling, there is always a way out, and there’s always a solution. Having a formula will help us be calm, and check ourselves if and when we are feeling anxious, and resolve our problems quickly.

Be a smart person, stop chasing the AM clubs

The more we think, the more we are able to get clarity on the problem to come up with the appropriate solution. For the longest time I have been struggling with the concept of becoming a “morning person” to be productive. And today I realised something; I don’t care to be a ‘morning person’ I just care to make the most of the 24 hours I get. You see labels can mess with our brain, but we can unclutter it with the right label.

Image result for sun

I want to be smart, a smart person wakes up as early as possible in the morning, and accomplishes a lot of work that could and has to be done before the humanity wakes up. In the digital world it is possible for us to do plenty work that is not time bound as per our convenience, this could be writing and responding to e-mails, scheduling social media content, writing blog posts, preparing content for messages to send later in the day. In the home front, much of your self-care, cooking, laundry, and all that jazz could be managed while the rest of the people of the house are asleep. Because some tasks get stretched just due to interruptions. I know I have that issue a lot.

Now this waking up could be 5 AM for some, it could 9 AM for some, based on their work and life routines. I am so done with the “5am club” and starting your day at 6am, the pressure is unreal. In my smart routine, the day you have more work, you get up at 5am and days you don’t you can get up at 10! The pressure to follow some rule, even though self-inflicted is just not making me productive. The guilt is unreal. So I am no longer wishing to connect with the “morning person” in me , which basically doesn’t exist, and instead be a “smart person” who does what’s needed.

Without a doubt, the early hours of the morning can provide a great sense of calm, quiet and accomplishment, and so do the late hours of night. A well thought after to-do list can ensure the remaining working hours of the day are spent getting all the tasks pre-planned and prepped for sorted.

In my life, I have enjoyed nothing more dearly than being busy, and juggling multiple projects, this takes away from any monotony that may strike, and keeps the energy levels productive. What is this life we live, only 24 hours in a day, and I know I want to spend a majority of them preparing for the real life (after death). There’s not point in anything else. Really, what is the point?

So if you are like me, trying to get productive by an early start to the day, don’t try to identify yourself with the “morning person” clan, just be you, and tell yourself, you’re going to be smart, and waking up whatever hour of the day helps you achieve your daily goals, do that. It’s better than guilt trips, and labeling that’s not getting you anywhere!

Upgrade yourself

There has to be a way of life. And the current world isn’t giving the best kind of role models

for us. I love that we have access to so much, through out phone and internet, it’s amazing to be part of this generation. But when it comes to mindfulness, and living a slow paced and more productive life, I feel at a loss.

I am so glad for bullet journaling, it helps me stay on track and visualise the mess in my head. It is so crucial for all humans to figure out their purpose in life. The sooner, the better. It’s funny how the more knowledge we gain, the more insightful we become about our purpose in life.

Last night, I was looking for a book on the topic of money management as per Islam, and came across a very helpful book. It is primarily about business ethics, but the first few chapters discuss money, earning, saving, and investment etc. I would highly recommend it for those who want to know about anything money related. Even those who are employees should read this book. It explains the way of life of Islam, and brings clarity on when your earnings can become worldly.

I am 29 years old, and the only time in life I have had epiphanies is via knowledge. Not information, but trusty, thought provoking knowledge. The sources of which can vary, and I don’t discriminate. I believe after a point in life, we just need to have the sense of filtering what’s not fitting with out values, and where we want to go in life.

You see it’s not fair for us to live, without understanding what potential we have, where we are headed and if we are fulfilling our duties. We are too smart, too good of beings to be living aimless, and winging our life as we age. We are meant for more, we are meant to be better, we are meant to conquer ourselves and inspire others every single day!

Why we decided to homeschool

Every homeschooling family will have to face this question ‘why are you homeschooling your child?’ And all homeschooling parents will have a different story, and reason to give. Because let’s face it, deciding to homeschool is not an easy decision; it require careful thought, and deliberation to come to conclusion. One of the apprehensions is also how to deal with people, and their reactions, and their judgment, and ignorance/misconceptions on the topic. Well, here’s why I decided to homeschool my daughter (8 yrs old) and my son (18 months) in the future too.

Let’s go back to the beginning; since I found out about the concept of homeschooling good 9 or ten years ago, I had totally fallen in love with it. Having gone to school myself, I could see so many possibilities within the homeschooling scenario. Of course, with all desires, comes the logic to research and explore, possibilities of applying it to your own life. It just so happened that an amazing IB school opened up right when my daughter turned 3, but since she was a preemie, I was going to delay her admission till she turned 4yrs old. Fast forward few years in school, and a divorce and an ugly custody battle, which unfortunately affected the daughter emotionally, school just couldn’t cut it.

She was also very behind academically, and needed a lot more help with socialising. So, I decided it was time, she spent more time with me, and her family, and develop closeness to those who love her unconditionally. Stress free and now able to focus on all the remedial she needed, she suddenly had more time, less anxiety and the freedom to be a child.

Her school was fantastic, but not for her. Being visually disabled, she needed more help, and that wasn’t something the school could cater to inclusively in the classroom. And I didn’t want it to come to a point where she needed a shadow teacher, what’s the purpose in going to a school and be in a class full of students, when you’re constantly getting one on one attention and not really mingling with others. Anyway, here are the pointers to the reasons:

  1. To develop her spiritually
  2.  Increase the span of interaction with family for emotional nourishment
  3. Customized academics prog. as per her need and ability
  4. More free time to socialise with people in different scenarios
  5. More time for remedial work (speech therapy, physical therapy, vision rehab etc.)
  6. More time for extracurricular activities

It’s been two months since I officially started homeschooling. And the change in her personality is profound, she’s showing much more interest in her academics and is enjoying the approach to learning. She is also bonding greatly and participating actively as the elder sister in her baby brothers life. He too is emulating her, and has started showing interest in notebooks, etc.

I have to say, I didn’t realise how much homeschooling impacts the family dynamic in a positive way. I suddenly felt like there was so much time to enjoy and interact with my own daughter, I myself didn’t feel the pressure of early mornings, and HW completions and all that stress which takes away from being a mother and instead turned me into a discipline police. Plus the mom guilt of not doing enough, has reduced tremendously. I have found out that homeschooling works very well for our family as a whole. My husband is very supportive, and we discuss topics that we could inculcate within our curriculum, the focus in our household is on the overall development of the children, as education should do that.

We have seen such positive changes in Batool, that we are already mentally ready to homeschool the little one, and I see him grow a personality, as he heads into his terrible twos, and I know, that he would be best nurtured in an environment that is not restrictive, and full of love and affection. In the end, all that children want is love and care from their parents (no matter how old they get).

Excuses Excuses

I remember when I was in school, we had this elocution piece called ‘excuses excuses’ I remember the first few lines of it and few from the middle and the whole gist of the story in my head. There have been several times that I have told myself that phrase when I find myself in a fit of “I don’t have time”. For the most part it is true for a mom, especially if you’re new and trying to get a hang of your new life. Sometimes there are just some facts that we need to be told in a non-sugar coated manner for us to stop the sulking and get into action.

The recent past, since my birthday has been all about figuring out myself and being more conscious of my time and accomplishments; and like always I was looking for inspiration when I stumbled upon this amazing mompreneur, and her video just struck a chord, I love how blunt she is and well, I instantly saved the video on my playlist for future reference.

When I look around and observe other moms, who are my age and how they’re satisfied with the domestic duties and marathons I wonder why I can’t find full satisfaction in that. In the end it’s all about brought up, if a girl has been brought up and raised with skills that help her within the domestic chores and that is painted as her only duty and contribution to the world then that’s all she will do and will find full satisfaction in it. Not that I was raised to take over the world and travel to the moon, my personality just won’t allow me to be satisfied with my role as a mom only, I need to play other roles, self-satisfaction, improvement and pushing the envelope of capabilities and goals is essential for me. I respect every woman who has made a sound decision to do what she is doing, in-fact this goes for all of humanity. Men and women who are aware of why they’re doing what they’re doing, and if it brings them the satisfaction in life then it’s amazing. Those people will inspire others, without a doubt they will.

For being a strong headed woman with dreams, it’s sad that I don’t have sane amount women around me who have the same goals in life. We all need guidance and inspiration, we also need to inspire and lift other woman, that’s the beauty of being leaders, you are constantly in the energy of passionate, motivated people who want success and you can learn from them and also help them out whenever possible.

All in all, the excuses have to end. Excuses don’t help anyone, in-fact they have a crappy effect on the people around you. A frustrated self, only increases the anxiety and causes negativity around us all. Forward has to be the goal, a tiny step at a time, as long as we’re moving forward, we will continue to have clarity in life.

Goodbye twenties

People think your twenties end when you turn 30yrs old, when actually on your 29th birthday you have completed your twenties.  I am writing this post in reflection of the decade that was.  Well, to say the least, it has been tricky. So much so, that I have been in a state of utter confusion since last year, and the intensity of the confusion increased starting 2018. I wasn’t looking forward to my birthday, I don’t celebrate them big anyway, but I was just not into it. At one point I even told my husband no more cakes starting this bday, only accomplishments will be celebrated. Anyway, the mother came and the cake was cut. Guess we don’t control our lives as much as we’d hope.

What bothers me the most about my twenties, is the naivete, the lack of achievement as per my potential and the excruciating amount of pain I have gone through. I am my own worst enemy according to a dear friend of mine. And I sort of agree, constantly, wanting more for yourself can make you ungrateful. This is especially true if you don’t have goals set, and don’t set values for those goals. How significant would it be to achieve goal X and goal Y etc. In the process you stop appreciating yourself for who you are as a human, separate from the achievements and the shiny stuff.

I was pondering a lot over what I would’ve wanted my twenties to be like, especially since I didn’t plan them. Then I shifted focus to planning the thirties, but the uncertainty of life makes it so difficult to set a bloody goal. Like all introspection, this too led to me to understand a little bit more about myself. I like to only put my time into what I am passionate about ; to the point that I will just not bother doing anything else. So for example while people can earn doing a job they dislike just to make the money, I simply can’t. My mind, soul and body just can get it to together for that. In conclusion, I need to find my passion and just dive right in.

The most difficult part is to separate your career and personal life. The work-life balance is the most tricky for women all over the world, the unsolicited mom guilt, societal pressure and dealing with everyday life issues makes it extremely difficult to find sanity. My twenties have been about family life, children, marriages, and my Sunday school. Nothing else has taken up a significant part of my twenties. Since I have put in all the effort and sacrificed so much for the children, I deem it pointless to throw away all that hard work for a job that may make me stay away from them for hours. My children are my achievement, just as much as my madrasa. So the next question is, what about the potential that lies in intellectual activities. I know I am not employee material. I know I want to start and run a successful business, that’s my intellectual/career aim in life now. Just to clarify I’m not money driven person too, I derive satisfaction from intellectual stimulation and achievements in problem solving. There are several components to wanting a business of your own, It’s not easy to start a business, let alone make it work. The mantra here is, there’s no rush.

I have been a major rush rush person, which is good especially if you live in Hyderabad wherein majority people are lazy and too laid back to do anything. Now that I have entered my thirties, I have told myself that I need to calm down, be clear, and not waste energy, and intellect on activities that neither reap results nor satisfaction. Side hustles should only be side hustles, never should they be considered as a permanent solution, nor destination. I know I want to home-school both my kids, I know I want to be there with them as much as possible, and I know I want to be an entrepreneur. I do believe I am one of those human beings that were meant to be parents one day. And I know for a fact that my skills will be wasted on anything but business.

Basically it’s all a matter of time. The thirties are about maintaining clarity, and taking strong steps towards achieving what is possible. Faith is crucial, not just in yourself, but also in your creator who undoubtedly has power over everything. I am clear on what I DON’T want my thirties to be, and what I DON’T want in my thirties and that helps plenty.

I have done my fair share of observing peers on social media, and imagining what their lives are like based on those few moments captured in pics/videos. And that’s been a learning experience, I am always happy for others, I am not an envious person. And I look at those things and try to derive inspiration, and broaden my horizon of achievements. Entering my thirties, I am not as concerned, not as bothered, not as affected by others and their lives. Surely, we all have different prerogatives and I am not them. I do not wish to achieve anything in life to make others envy me. Inspire, yes. Being an inspiration for someone is a beautiful thing, not everyone has the capacity to inspire through their life.

I guess I will need more “me-time” and make efforts to ensure more of that for myself. Not for a salon visit, as much as spiritual growth. What’s me-time when it doesn’t help you grow as a human? if “me” isn’t becoming a better version of me then; the me-time has actually been a waste.

Being grateful isn’t easy, complaining is. Being grateful in practicality means you whine less, because surely we have much more to be grateful for than to whine about. And the crux of all that comes form faith, no in human beings, not in your family, not in your friends, but the one who created them all and you. The one whose spirit lives in you, and the one to whom you will return.

🙂

One month post spine surgery update

On June 1st 2018, I underwent surgery; laminectomy discectomy of L5S1 for a herniated disc, and I just wanted to share a one month update for anyone who may be interested.

I myself, have been looking for updates like such online, to help ease anxiety related to recovery from spine surgery, and just know what the future holds for me post op. Doctors give plenty information, but each patient is different and it’s always good to know about other peoples experience.

So it’s been a little over a month since surgery, and I feel okay. The sciatica in my left leg went away right after surgery, and hasn’t visited since. Which is a great relief. My stitches have healed, I got fourteen in total, and there’s no infection however, there’s slight fat discharge; which my doc says is nothing to worry about and pretty common in female patients.

Mobility wise, I am able to walk, and sit. Even though sitting is more painful and exhausting. I can sit comfortably for ten mins or so, and then my body starts to hint discomfort. Standing is much better a position as is walking. However the most rest one can give to their spine after surgery is lying, that too on their back. The restriction on BLT (bending, lifting and twisting) is still there and will be for another couple of weeks.

The numbness post surgery in my legs, knee down has gone away for the most part, however if I sit for long it comes back. I am using a lumbar belt when off the bed, and that does help a lot in keeping my back in position and giving support. I do forget it sometimes and I can definitely feel the difference when not wearing it, the spine needs that kind of support, as the muscles need time to recover and bring strength to the spine. My physiotherapy will start in a day or two, I am looking forward to it.

What bothers me the most is the dependency, with kids it’s very difficult to be on any kind of strict rest. Not only do I feel bad that I am missing out on cuddles, and play with my little one, it’s sad to see my elder one not happy with my physical restrictions. I am very a hands on kinda of mom, and it’s very difficult to not BLT when you have a baby around. Maids too are causing a lot of mental stress, which is adding to the irritation.

I guess in life you just don’t get everything perfect, and I have realised that health is not just important, it’s even more important when you’re young and NEED to be doing things for your family, and self. On a positive note, I have come to terms with what I need to do in life to take control of this health situation. I don’t identify myself in this state of bed-rest and lazy non-productive life. I do know I am doing plenty in this recovery stage, with my Sunday school starting its new academic year, and homeschooling my daughter, and balancing all other projects that I do. I know I want to get back to a particular weight, and have a certain level of activeness in my lifestyle, not just for me, but for my children and family as a whole.

Life isn’t meant to be spent on bed, especially when there’s so much potential locked up inside of us and the enthusiasm to want to achieve it. Motivation is everything for us to achieve what we want in life; and as I tell my daughter that she can do anything she sets her mind to, I am telling myself the same to emulate what I teach!

Minimalism according to me

Minimalism and the lifestyle has been catching up. Youtube is filled with videos and documentaries on the Minimalist way of life. You watch a couple of them and you kinda sorta get an idea of what they’re trying to tell you, but then it starts to seem black and white and depressing. It’s difficult to ever imagine yourself being able to maintain a balance in your life in that manner.

But I tried to ponder more, on my own, whenever possible. Started to observe my lifestyle, and that of other around me. took mental notes of what I liked and disliked, what i agreed and disagreed with with this new lifestyle. And like always I try to bring all my cluttered thoughts to religion to seek guidance in the right way. Because the base of all my beliefs is that if there’s a right way to do anything my Creator knows it, because He created me and everyone else on earth and beyond. And so I did that.

Minimalism is not out there in that term, but there’s a term that would drive you to minimalism. And it’s a simple concept, a concept many of us have come across way before minimalism itself. Extravagance, in Arabic ‘israaf’. Israaf is not just a disliked activity in Islam, it is also a greater sin (Gunah e Kabira). So, there you go, forget choosing a lifestyle, you may have very well been sinning all this while! hehe.

We have taught Israaf on a basic level to children at madrasa for years, it is part of their ‘manners’ curriculum. And while we teach it m we only discuss it on the surface. Anyway, rightly assuming I don’t know anything about the topic I started reading the chapter of Israaf in the Greater sins book. It’s amazing how we are able to relate to examples as we grow older, and observant of people around us. Their decisions and their doings and how everything makes sense on a deeper, more productive level. Needless to say, I had multiple ‘aha’ moments, and forwarded the link to few people on my whatsapp contacts.

I had never looked at israaf beyond its basic definition, honestly, I hadn’t even thought about it deep enough to realise how much of it I do on a regular, basis. And most importantly,  need to be more mindful of these things. As a parent if I practice these day to day things correctly, it won’t be as much a struggle for my children.

To sum it up Israaf can and more often happens in our time, our physical and emotional efforts, our energy, our mental abilities, our money. In fact, every breath can become a victim of extravagance. If we realise that, and work towards eradicating this leech we would not only reduce wastage, but increase efficiency by putting in efforts where they’re needed. being mindful of israaf can actually enable us to not do it in things you don’t even currently posses. That’s the beauty of this concept. And while we all need to and are ordered to live up to our standard as per our means, we are also supposed to think about those around us who are in need before spending our time, money and energy on things we don’t need, but want.

As a human ending her 29th year of life, I would like to be in a state to be able to pass on wisdom, and gain more each day. Otherwise, it’s an israaf of my intellect. This made me realise how much I have already wasted, never to regain. We don’t see how much israaf negatively impacts our everyday lives on an individual and social level. It’s not a philosophical concept, it’s a realistic concept that every child and adult can relate to. I am so glad that I have a better more clearer perspective on things, another curtain has been lifted from my intellect and I am looking forward to (more than ever before) uncovering more wisdom in the future.

 

Living in FOMO

See I didn’t know how to describe this feeling till I came across few weeks ago, FOMO. That’s what my twenties have been about. And while I slowly reach the end of my 29th year of life, that’s how I can describe my twenties.

Hindsight is a terrible thing, it can make you feel guilty, smart, stupid, naive etc. And I can’t help but look back at my twenties when I am so close to ending a significant era of my life. There are many TEDx talks on this issue, make twenties your everything, or twenties aren’t everything. Everyone has a point of view, and a lot of those points seem logical, reasonable, understandable, but nevertheless don’t calm my soul.

You see I didn’t ever make a concrete plan for myself, I was only 19 when I got married. To be honest, I didn’t even know the significance of having a plan in the first place. But with time, I realised that the sane thing is to be the best that you can. Achieve what you’re capable of, and hustle for that.

My twenties, I lived in FOMO, and when I asked myself what exactly those things were. I strangely, with a broken heart had to succumb to accepting that I actually was in the FOMO on my twenties. It doesn’t get disappointing than that. Nothing I have done in my twenties has given me leverage for my thirties. Isn’t that what it’s all about in the end? Everything we do consciously has to eventually yield some fruit. None of the seeds I sowed, are worth jazz for my future. Highlights include a degree via distance in Psychology, a career stream I am no longer interested in because it requires dedication and higher education. I started a Sunday School, and Yes, Allah will reward me in continuity for this venture. However due to my health I’m not able to go as regularly as I used to. I spent 6.5 years married, trying to make things work, only to end up divorcing. Wasted the crucial early twenties in this. Got married again, and have a baby boy too. And as we all know babies bring a big gigantic comma if not full stop to your life. The struggle of adjusting to a new home life, a new partner, a new marriage is on another level. A simultaneous custody case in court for the daughter, drains energy out. I won the case and have her, and working on damage control.

I am not anti-struggle. I just want a different struggle now. I want a struggle that takes me somewhere, a struggle that has some promise. Otherwise I will remain in this state of unrest, irritated, in quarter life crisis, constantly confused, pulled on one side spiritually, and struggling to survive through every worldly issues.

The highs and lows are extreme now, emotionally it’s draining to be a mom, add to that someone who actually wants to be more than that. Simply because I have the potential. How does one get clarity, when the clouds of disappointment are always around? Where do you go for support when you have only one friend in the city? How much can you burden others with your same unresolved questions?

One thing I know for sure is that the thirties shouldn’t have to be this way. But unless I figure things out, I will be aimless squandering like a nomad. What do we do, to not live in FOMO?

2017 The year that was

2017 has been a big year for me. Life is not easy when you’re an adult, and no one prepares you for what can come your way. Fact is, no one knows and you can’t possibly be prepared for everything.

I am hoping this post is probably the last time I think about this year and everything that happened in life until now. I find it liberating to take control of my life to the point where I choose to never ever refer certain years, incidences, people just for my own mental peace. We all deserve to live in the present, and live happily. There’s no need to spend each moment, comparing, contrasting, frustrated. We don’t get the option to go back in time do we?

The year started off with being very close to my due date. Baby Abbas was born in Feb, as a full term blessing and the year ended with getting back my little doll. This is nothing but a blessing. The test of children is always the most difficult.

The months in between were all about the two of them, getting used to taking care of a baby, and working hard to getting back his sister. In the midst of it was an impromptu vacation to Dubai, which went by too quickly. I guess when you become a parent,all your thoughts are in sync with the needs of the kids, and that’s the beauty of this bond. You can be anything in the world, but being a parent lifts you up like nothing else.

The husband and I have experienced a marriage like no other. Court visits, lawyer visits, prayers, advises, hospital visits, so many firsts of Baby Abbas. Having a partner in life that you can share your life with, no facade, no drama, 100% raw and real isn’t easy. Both have to be on the same page, or be able to get the other on the same page 🙂

Education wise, I mentally set aside my graduation from IGNOU in 2017 and with time have released that while I like my subject I am not passionate about it enough to make a career in it in future. Also, I do not like to get degrees that don’t satisfy me, in terms of my effort, and what I have learned during the studying process. I have new plans, but will share them when the time is right, when I am comfortable and sure.

2017 was an eye opener to human behaviour, and the Indian prejudices. I have been shocked and surprised and then shocked some more.  We human beings are very powerful, the beauty is in using it for the good. I have great respect for the people who have the courage to not just acknowledge truth, but also stand up for it. We all want to do it, but we all fail at it most of the time. Some of us don’t even get the opportunity. I respect girls and women who respect another female friend, and family member, who have the guts to stand up and speak what is right, who defend their sister in her absence. Who risk their societal standing for the truth, they get labelled, and shunned too, but the satisfaction of being right, being truthful is beyond any societal prize!

I am happy to have grown, will be taking life in a new direction with 2018. I have never been so excited for a new year.

Here’s a wishing to all my readers, and a big thank you for all the support.

Happy New Year!